Well, Micro$oft’s new angle on taking away a little piece of the Google pie is typical of them: bribe us to use it.

A little recap: First they tried to build a better search engine.  That would be Live – the MSN Live Search product.  It launched with some fanfare and quickly dropped out of mind and out of sight for most people.  I think the only people using it are the ones who haven’t figured out how to change the settings for search in IE.  Yes, people do still use IE…

When the dust settled, they decided that maybe they should just go out and buy a better search engine.  Heck, they have enough money to make that happen, right?  So, the battle for Yahoo! began.  The on again, off again Micro$oft attempt to purchase Yahoo! had a lot of people seeing black and blue and red all over.

So when that didn’t work, they decided on a new strategy: if they can’t build a better search engine, and they can’t buy one – why not simply bribe people to use the crappy one they built?!

Called ‘Cashback’, Micro$oft will bribe you to use their search engine by giving you some money back when you buy something that you found using their search tool.  From the site:

  1. Search – Search for cashback deals at Live Search cashback. Each time you click a Live Search cashback listing, you’ll find great deals on the product you chose. Your results will clearly list the cashback savings you’ll receive off the store price, and your final bottom-line price that includes tax and shipping costs. Also look for this icon cashback Icon when you search for a product on Live Search to find great cashback deals.
  2. Shop – Compare and sort products by the bottom-line price. Click the best deal to go to the store. Everything you buy during that store visit will be eligible for Live Search cashback. On your first time using Live Search cashback, we will ask you for an email address so we can tell you how to quickly set up your free cashback account.
  3. Save – Keep saving money each time you use Live Search cashback. Every time you make a qualifying purchase, we’ll send you an email to confirm your Live Search cashback savings. When your cashback account reaches a balance of at least $5, you can claim your cold, hard cash.

So, as the old adage goes, if you can’t get people to use your tool because it sucks, and you can’t buy a better one to replace it, throw money at people and see if that’ll get em to use it…

I’m sure there will soon be seven different versions of Live for people to choose from.  Live Home.  Live Work.  Live driving in your car.  Live CE.  Live XBox 360.  Live plastic cup.  So on and etc…